Annotated Bibliography
Materials by and about Syl Cheney-Coker

By Mark L Lilleleht (mllillel@wisc.edu)
An ongoing exercise in compilation & annotation.
Last updated 11 August 2004.


Abley, Mark. "Commonwealth Prize Desrves Higher Profile." The Gazette 9 Nov. 1991: K1.

Retrieved through Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe (date accessed?).

Bauerle, Richard. "Review of Syl Cheney-Coker's The Blood in the Desert's Eyes." World Literature Today 65.2 (1991): 350.

Sees the collection as unified by a single theme or concern: "speak[ing] for the wretched of the world." Sees Cheney-Coker's concerns (and poetic influences) as wide-ranging and diverse but organized by the determination to speak against a growing lack of concern for the disadvantaged worldwide. Bauerle also cites the "Whitmanesque" character of the poetic form and style of this latest collection.

Berner, Robert L. "Review of Syl Cheyney-Coker's Concerto for an Exile." Books Abroad 48.4 (1974): 835-6.

A brief review of Cheney-Coker's earliest published collection. Berner expresses a certain ambivalence towards Cheney-Coker's poetry, lamenting the "expressions of passionate self-loathing" (835) which he sees springing from Cheney-Coker's own ambivalence towards his Creole ancestry (viewed through the lense of negritude), while celebrating those poems which "objectify," and one might assume, displace and distance (and thus tame and dampen - delay judgment?), "a violent inner conflict between Africa ... and his own feelings of unworthiness" (836).

Bertinetti, Paolo. "Reality and Magic in Syl Cheney-Coker's The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar." Coterminus Worlds: Magical Realism and Contemporary Post-Colonial Literature in English. Eds. Elsa Linguanti, Francesco Casotti, and Carmen Concilio. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 1999. 197-207.

Bradberry, Grace. "Las Vegas Gambles on New Image As Haven for Dissident Writers." The Times 23 Oct. 2000: 13.

Retrieved from Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 1 March 2002.

Brown, Stewart. "Cheney-Coker, Syl." The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Poetry in English. Ed. Ian Hamilton. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1994. 89.

A brief biographical entry on his travels, education and work (both creative and as a university professor) is followed by an equally brief characterization of the general trends and themes of his poetic works. Brown characterizes Cheney-Coker's poetic work as "poems of causes" and Cheney-Coker himself as "unashamedly opininated, rhetorical, and verbose" although the best of his work "assume the force of poetic manifestoes on behalf of the world's 'sufferers'" - among whom, I might add, Cheney-Coker often poetically classifies himself.

---. "A Poet in Exile." Index on Censorship 10.6 (1981): 55-7.

Subsequently reprinted in West Africa 3360 (21-8 December 1981): 3055-9.

An interview that focuses mainly on the political aspects of art and the African artist and Cheney-Coker's reflections upon the political situation in Sierra Leone (1970s and 80s). Cheney-Coker sees "the very existence of the African writer [as] a political statement" (55). As one of the few channels of communication open (and a risky one at that) Cheney-Coker sees it as the duty of the African poet to remind his people what they have become - and not to expect rewards in return. He sees little of redeeming value in Sierra Leone at the moment and feels the political situation is such (under the leadership of Siaka Stevens) that any artistic endeavor is bound to be stillborn on the shelves of the creator - exile being both spiritual and physical, to remove oneself from a spiritually and intellectually stifling environment is many times the best that can be hoped for. In exile the channel from Cheney-Coker to an audience remains open and the channel within himself cannot be choked off by the Internal Security Unit or any other arm of an oppressive regime.

Includes a sidebar by Cheney-Coker entitled, "My biggest nightmare" - which, in light of the interview, does much to illuminate the pain and paradoxes with which Cheney-Coker is wrestling with in exile. His claim is that even more worrisome than the possibility that he might one day return to Sierra Leone and be locked up is the reality that most of what the African writer produces, that any African writer produces, is lost on the vast majority of one's countrymen. "And in some ways this fact gives comfort to the authorities, it makes their task easier" (56) and still the writer is torn between trying to represent a class or people who will not engage with the work.

---. "A Poet in Exile." West Africa 3360 (1981): 3055-9.

Reprint of interview which originally appeared in Index on Censorship 10.6 (December 1981): 55-7.

Bruchac, Joseph. "Cheyney-Coker, Syl." Contemporary Poets. Eds. James Vinson and D. L. Kirkpatrick. 4th ed. New York: St Martin's Press, 1985. 129.

---. "Cheyney-Coker, Syl." Contemporary Poets. Ed. Thomas Riggs. 6th ed. New York: St James Press, 1996. 156-7.

((Similar / identical to the 4th edition version?))

Butscher, Mike. ""Multiparty Is Not A Panacea": An Interview With Syl Cheyney-Coker." West Africa 3874 (1991): 2054.

Notice the "misspelling" of his last name - this spelling was particularly prevalent in early references to his writing and in his own writing. Later the first "y" was dropped, as it is in the "about the author" blurb at the end of the interview. That blurb also mentions his being a visiting writer at the Internatinal Writing Program in 1988 at the University of Iowa.

Cheney-Coker, Syl. "African Artists and Mass Media." Présence Africaine 88 (1973): 59-69.

---. Bã Shiru. Madison: Department of African Languages and Literature, University of Wisconsin-Madison, 1971.

Published under the name, "Syl Cheyney-Coker".

---. The Blood in the Desert's Eyes: Poems. African Writers Series; Heinemann African Poets. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1990.

---. "Bread." New Internationalist 267 (1995): 11.

Reprint of a poem that first appeared in his third collection of poetry, Blood. Also available/published online at: http://www.oneworld.org/ni/issue267/bread.htm [last accessed 12 July 2000].

"Cheney-Coker, Syl." Cambridge Guide to Fiction in English. Ed. Iam Ousby. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. 68.

---. "The Concert." Commonwealth Currents 4 (1996): 4.

Also available online at http://www.thecommonwealth.org/htm/info/info/currents/1996/index3.htm [last accessed 16 March 2000].

---. Concerto For An Exile. African Writers Series 126. London: Heinemann, 1973.

Back cover blurb about the author notes that Cheney-Coker "is the author of a previous collection, The Road to Jamaica", a volume which has not been noted by any other source. This line, "The Road to Jamaica!", is also the final line of the poetic preface to the poem, "Environne." Blurb also mentions that "he sees his poetry as more Latin-American than African" (again, no attribution).

Published under the name, "Syl Cheyney-Coker".

---. "Exile, the Writer and the Critic." Okike 23 (1983): 2-6.

A more mature though no less passionate piece than some of his earlier writings. Cheney-Coker discusses the spiritual toll that physical exile takes on the writer - yet that's a toll that needs to be paid by many writers who would not be able to write, to do, if they did not consent to/choose exile. Written on the occassion of a critic questioning Bessie Head's flight from South Africa, Cheney-Coker's contention is that "writers want to be a factor of life: that voice that is saying something different" (4) and that writers are a necessary part of any sane and just society. The only option available to writers in those societies where the right to voice that difference is not allowed is exile, and to dismiss this as the coward's way, as something of an evasion of the writer's "responsibility" is to misunderstand the task of the writer. It also betrays an improper focus, a shifting of all responsibility onto the writer when it is the state that creates the conditions which make exile the only option available to the writer. Making one's voice heard, even outside the state, "shows a social and moral concern for his country" (5) that a muted albeit raging sacrifice might very well betray. What Cheney-Coker fails to consider - especially evident in light of his early and ongoing concern for the issue - is who is it that hears the voice, for whom does such an author stand as an example - for often times these governments that silence voices within are as vehement in shutting voices out as well, and what solace or use is the future if one is not an immediate or relevant "factor" in the present?

---. "Four Poems." Ba Shiru (1970-1971): 48-51.

Listed as "Cheney-Coker" in the table of contents but "Cheyney-Coker" at the start of the poems.

The four poems are: "Misery of the Convert", "2 A.M.", "Agony of the Dark Child" and "Mandingo Woman".

"Misery" is reprinted in Concerto although this latter version is greatly expanded: three new sections / five new stanzas are added in this later version.

"Agony" also appears in Concerto without addition although some puncuation has been changed and the poem has been broken into short stanzas in the Concerto version.

The other two poems have not been reprinted in any of his subsequent collections and may have been part of the "lost" volume, The Road to Jamaica.

---. "Ghetto Woman." Ufahamu 1.2 (1970): 68.

An ode of sorts, addressed to a black American woman and bearing the heavy mark of the influence of négritude poetic imagery. Has not been reprinted in any of his subsequent collections and may have been part of the "lost" volume, The Road to Jamaica.

The blurb at the end of the poem mentions that he graduated from the University of Oregon with a degree in Radio and Television Journalism.

Published under the name, "Syl Cheyney-Coker".

---. The Graveyard Also Has Teeth With Concerto for an Exile. African Writers Series 221. London: Heinemann, 1980.

Concerto originally published in 1973.

---. "Hydropathy, Horoscope, Environne, Lotus Eater and Absurdity." The Greenfield Review 2.3 (1972): 32-7.

Perhaps the first publication of five poems which appear in his collection, Concerto for an Exile.

Published under the name, "Syl Cheyney-Coker".

---. "Lake Fire." Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad 14.1 (1995): 43-4.

---. The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar. African Writers Series. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Educational Books, 1990.

---. "Letter to a Tormented Playwright." Uncommon Wealth: An Anthology of Poetry Written in English. Eds. Neil Besner, Deborah Schnitzer, and Alden Turner. New York (??): Oxford University Press, 1997. (??).

---. "Looking for the Spirit at Night." Prism International 22.4 (1984): 44.

Republication of a poem that first appeared in his second collection, Graveyard. Published here with the poem, "To Syl Cheney-Coker" by George Elliot Clarke, on the facing page.

---. "Myopia." New Poetry From Africa: A Poetry Course for Senior Secondary Schools. Eds. R. Johnson, et al. Ibadan: University Press PLC, 1996. 29-30.

---. "The Old Man: From The Years of the Barracudas." Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad 13.3 (1995): 78-84.

---. "The Philosopher." Modern Literatures of the Non-Western World: Where the Waters Are Born. Eds. Jayana Clerk and Ruth Siegel. New York: Harper Collins College Publishers, 1995. 783-4.

---. "Portrait of an Afro-American Artist." Bã Shiru (1971): 14.

Published under the name, "Syl Cheyney-Coker".

---. "Powers Lost: The Destruction of Traditional Rule in Sierra Leone." Worldview 12.4 (1999): 31-7.

Accompanying photographs by Vera Viditz-Ward.

Also available online at http://www.worldviewmagazine.com/issues/fall1999/topstory.html [last accessed 12 July 2000].

---. "Religiosity and Anti-Rationalism in African Art." Solidarity (Manilla) 10.1 (1976): 93-8.

Text of a delivered lecture. Although there is no biographical information provided, it does not seem incorrect to assume that this lecture was delivered during his sojourn at the University of the Philippines, Quezon City.

Cheney-Coker opens this essay with the statement that an Asian audience - unlike an "informed European or literate American audience" (93) - lacks an awareness or understanding of Africa and Africans. He then launches into what is essentailly an overview of negritude and its basic encapusaltion of the continent. This is not wholly unexpected, for Cheney-Coker's early poetic works similarly reflect a great debt to the foundational ideas of negritude; although the irony, considering his opening assertion, cannot be missed. Cheney-Coker presents the fundamental shift in human awareness (and upon which the African artistic temperament is based) as having occurred one and a half to two million years ago with the development of tool-making and the rise of cave painting. He rejects the idea of a single "African" artistic tradition but proceeds to present a fairly standard negritude argument of the inherent religiousity of African art (premised on the inherent religiousity of everyday life: distinctions between life and the spiritual, the immediate and the abstract/metaphysical not being drawn as in the West): "for the African, nothing is abstract" (95). Quotes extensively from Senghor and others and parrotts their embrace of Mother Africa and the necessity of reclaiming and renewing her in her "naked and ritualistic form" (96) through a direct connection with the people (via "folk poetry") and the spiritual (via anti-rationalism).

---. "Response to the Question: "South Africa: Cultural Boycott - Yes or No?"." Index on Censorship 4.2 (1975): 16-7.

I also have a copy of the questions themselves and a summation of respondents' answers (pp 5-9).

---. "The Sacred River (War in Sierra Leone)." Autodafe: The Journal of the International Parliament of Writers 1 (2001): 169-85.

Includes the following poems: "Of Hope and Dinosaurs", "The Breast of the Sea" and "Blood Money" [from Stone Child].

---. "Stone Child - Manuscript.", 2000.

Poems included in this draft: Homage to a dead child; New Year in Freetown, 1999; Our Lady of Diamond; Turkish Diptych, 1999; When the Dead Talk; Of hope and Dinosaurs; The Breast of Our Ocean; Blood Money; This evening, next morning; On Viewing Chris Ofili's 'Holy Virgin Mary'; The termites of our time.

---. "Two Poems: Hallucination of a Refugee & War Bulletins." The Malahat Review 107 (1994): 144-5.

Two poems not collected in any of his earlier poetic works. Grim reminders of the suffering and struggle of the victim and the poet. Both poems are gripped by a weary and almost gruesome resignation before the inevitable fury and grinding sameness of History and the everyday.

---. "Visions and Reflections on War: A Review of John Pepper Clark's Casualties: Poems 1966/68." Ufahamu 1.3 (1971): 93-8.

"Cheney-Coker, Syl (1945-)." Modern Black Writers: Supplement. Ed. Steven R. Serafin. New York: Continuum, 1995. 141-5.

"Cheyney-Coker, Syl." The Writers Directory, 1996-1998. 12th ed. Detroit: St James Press, 1996. 265.

Very brief biographical listing of Cheney-Coker. Concerto and Graveyard are the only listed publications.

Note the spelling of the name.

Cheney-Coker also listed in editions 3 (1976-1978) - 11 (1994-1996). He is not listed in the latest (13th, 1998-2000) edition nor in the 1st (1972-1974) or 2nd (1974-1976) editions.

"Cheyney-Coker, Syl." International Authors and Writers Who's Who. Eds. David Cummings and Dennis K. McIntire. 15th ed. Cambridge: International Biographical Centre, 1997. 116-7.

Very brief biographical listing of Cheney-Coker. Concerto and Graveyard are the only listed publications although additional appointments and awards are also listed.

Note the spelling of the name.

Cheney-Coker also listed in the 14th (1995) edition as "Cheyney-Coker".

Listed in the 9th edition (1982) as "Cheney-Coker" which, in addition to listing Concerto and Graveyard, lists periodicals in which he has been published - among them the Journal of Nigerian Languages and Literature. Further information on this particular publication not readily available.

Chinweizu, ed. Voices From Twentieth-Century Africa: Griots and Towncriers. London: Faber and Faber, 1988.

Contains one previously published poem of Syl Cheney-Coker: "Peasants" (Concerto/Graveyard). Grouped with other poems under the sub-heading "Rulers and Ruled" [itself part of a larger thematic grouping titled "The Arena of Public Affairs"].

Christensen, Matthew James. "Re-Narrating Nation: Nationalist Discourse in Late-1980s Sierra Leonean Drama and Fiction.". University of California, Los Angeles, 1995.

Clarke, George Elliott. "To Syl Cheney-Coker." Prism International 22.4 (1984): 45.

A poem published facing Cheney-Coker's poem, "Looking for the Spirit at Night". Clarke also presented a conference paper entitled "Syl Cheney-Coker's Nova Scotia: The Limits of Literary Pan-Africanism" in 1997 (see "Additional Materials").

An evocation and closing embrace of alienation and instability in attempting to identify and solidify one's past (and one's present). Opens with a epigraph from Cheney-Coker's poetry, in which he writes of his "Nova Scotian madness" - an allusion to the historical roots of the Sierra Leonean Creoles.

---. "For Henry Dumas (1934-1968) à La Manière De Cheney-Coker." African American Review 34.4 (2000): 692-3.

Collected through EBSCO Academic Search Elite database (date accessed??).

---. "Syl Cheney-Coker's Nova Scotia, or the Limits of Pan-Africanism." The Dalhousie Review 77.1 (1997): 283-96.

Review of SCC's The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar.

Cole, Ernest. "The Poetry of Syl Cheney-Coker: The Blood in the Desert's Eyes." African Literature Today 20 (1996): 151-7.

"Commonwealth Short Story Winners." New Straits Times 12 June 1996: 9.

Retrieved through Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe (date accessed?).

Cooper, Brenda. "Cultural Identity, Cultural Studies in Africa and the Representation of the Middle Passage." Transgressing Boundaries: New Directions in the Study of Culture in Africa. Eds. Brenda Cooper and Andrew Steyn. Athens: Ohio University Press, 1997. 164-83.

Originally published (jointly) by University of Cape Town Press.

---. "'The Plantation Blood in His Veins': Syl Cheney-Coker and The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar." Magical Realism in West African Fiction: Seeing With a Third Eye. Brenda Cooper. London and New York: Routledge, 1998. 115-55.

With footnotes and bibliography. Part of the series, Routledge Research in Postcolonial Literatures.

---. "Syl Cheney-Coker: The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar and an Interview." ALA Bulletin 20.3 (1994): 3-17.

---. "The West African Magical Realist Novel: Syl Cheney-Coker's The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar, Ben Okri's The Famished Road and Kojo Laing's Woman of the Aeroplanes." An Introduction to the African Prose Narrative. Ed. Lokangaka Losambe. Pretoria: Kagiso Tertiary, 1996. 209-42.

Dada, Segun. "Review of Syl Cheney-Coker's The Graveyard Also Has Teeth." African Literature Today 13 (1983): 240-1.

Contends that the poems, while overflowing with emotions of all sorts, are, with "the right intellectual effort", accessible and understandable. Dada understands Cheney-Coker's poetry as flowing from the poet's own personal experience while addressing the larger issues that confront us all, especially feelings of anger and righteousness that the poet trying to fight "cheats, fakes, dupes, [and] dictators" (241) must necessarily engage and reconcile. Dada sees Cheney-Coker as having effectively harnessed his anger and channelled it through language into taut, powerful verse. Also, explains the siginificance of the collection's title - rooted in the lines of Creole mourners: "Eh, the grave yard bet (bites) me, eh, it bet (bites) me!" (240)

della Cava, Marco R. "A Literary Gamble: Sin City Goes for the Cultural Jackpot As a Poet's Asylum." USA Today 14 Nov. 2000: 1D.

Retrieved from Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 2 December 2000.

"Focus on Commonwealth Prize; TV Ontario Panel to Discuss Nominations for Prestigious Book Awards." The Ottawa Citizen 2 Nov. 1991: G9.

Fraser, Robert. West African Poetry: A Critical History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1986.

Cheney-Coker earns a brief four pages (286-90) in Fraser's overview of West African poetry. In a style more lyrical than Cheney-Coker's own, Fraser sees exile - physical, intellectual (not a question of "alientation") and emotional - and the vistas opened by such as one of the prime moving factor in the two collections - Concerto and Graveyard - considered here. Anger (towards a "Christ the scourged turn[ed] scourger" (288)), regret and even a tempered bitterness characterize Cheney-Coker's poetry as Fraser reads it. Stylistically, Fraser asserts, he is not "a disciplined poet: his images are promiscuous rather than abundant, and he appears not to recognize the comma." (289) And despite an early explanation of the Creole in Sierra Leone and in exile, there is little direct analysis to Fraser's consideration - it being much more a celebration and marvelling at Cheney-Coker's work (a poetic appreciation which itself could be unpacked by the metacritic).

Gorman, Tom. "Unlikely Haven for a Writer." Los Angeles Times 12 Oct. 2000: A1 (??).

Retrieved from Lexis-Nexis Academic Universe, 2 December 2000. Was available online at http://www.latimes.com/news/state/20001012/t00009728 [last accessed 16 October 2000 - accessible currently from the LA Times' online archives for a fee].

Griffiths, Gareth. African Literatures in English: East and West. Longman Literature in English Series. London: Longman, 2000.

SCC is mentioned a number of times in Griffiths work. His work is referred to in passing on (118) - where Harmattan is noted as a return to the "picaresque form" (together with Okri's and some of Ngugi's later works) - and (252).

A brief write-up is also included in the "Individual Authors" section of Griffiths work which provides brief bio-bioliographical entries on authors mentioned elsewhere in the text. Perplexingly, though referred to throughout the text correctly as "Syl Cheney-Coker" he is incorrectly listed in this section as "Syl Cheyney-Coker" (perpetuating the earlier misattribution that continues through many dictionaries and reference works). ((the entry reads and looks as if it was copped from another such dictionary - double check against the copies I have))

SCC's work is treated more substantially on (249-50; poetry) and (327-8; Harmattan). Griffiths notes Graveyard/Concerto (noting too the "missing" The Road to Jamaica) but makes no mention of Blood. The focus of Griffiths discussion is on the "very explicit references to the hybridised nature of Cheney-Coker's Creole heritage" (249) and how it is played out in his poetry; and how this bifurcated quality of his life and intentions (an "elite" milieu v. identification with the peasantry/oppressed) is reflected throughout his poetry. Griffiths rather oddly notes that "despite" SCC's claims of Latin American influence, he clearly identifies with the "experience of Black Africa" - whereas SCC's acknowledgement of influence has always been admittedly more formal than thematic.

Griffiths brief discussion of Harmattan similarly notes the Latin American influence, this time without qualification, noting its "magical realist" style. The organizing principle of Griffiths discussion is Harmattan as "alternative history" structured not just imaginatively but structurally in the way the narratives are presented as a "dissenting metahistory".

---. "Writing, Literacy and History in Africa." Writing and Africa. Eds. Mpalive-Hangson Msiska and Paul Hyland. New York: Addison Wesley Longman Limited, 1997. 139-58.

Gussow, Mel. "For Writers Under the Gun, A Chance to Beat the Odds." New York Times 27 Dec. 2000: B8.

Harding, Jeremy. "African Countries." The Oxford Guide to Contemporary Writing. Ed. John Sturrock. New York: Oxford University Press, 1996. 1-21.

Hemminger, Bill. "Review of Coterminus Worlds: Magical Realism and Contemporary Post-Colonial Literature in English, Elsa Linguanti Et Al. (Eds.)." Research in African Literatures 32.4 (2001): 222-3.

Izevbaye, Dan S. "West African Literature in English: Beginnings to the Mid-Seventies." The Cambridge History of African and Caribbean Literature, Volume 2. Eds. F. Abiola Irele and Simon Gikandi. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004. 472-503.

SCC mentioned on the final page of the chapter (498) as one of a "new crop of mainly expatriate Creole writers of Sierra Leone" (together with Lemuel Johnson and Yulisa Amadu Maddy. Unfortunately, Izevbaye has perpetuated the use of "Cheyney-Coker" - with the extra "y" - which makes one wonder whether he has actually looked at the cover of SCC's Harmattan, the only work of SCC mentioned in the piece (in the closing line) which Izevbaye holds up as the prime example of these authors' struggle to integrate their "dual heritage" through "an appropriate language and form."

No mention is made of SCC's poetry.

Kamarah, Sheikh Umarr. Singing in Exile and The Child of War. Sierra Leonean Writers Series, Creative Writing 2. Schriesheim, Germany: Africa Future Publishers, 2002.

Passing reference to SCC in the "Introduction" to this collection be A. Onipede Hollist. Hollist cites Kamarah's collection as "the first published collection of poetry by a Sierra Leonean since Syl Cheney-Coker's Blood in the Desert's Eyes in 1991" (vi).

Killam, Douglas, and Ruth Rowe, eds. The Companion to African Literatures. Oxford & Bloomington: James Currey & Indiana University Press, 2000.

Entries included for both Syl Cheney-Coker and The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar.

Killam, G. D. "Cheney-Coker, Syl." Encyclopedia of Post-Colonial Literatures in English, Volume 1. Eds. Eugene Benson and L. W. Conolly. London and New York: Routledge, 1994. 224-5.

Knipp, Thomas. "English-Language Poetry." A History of Twentieth-Century African Literatures. Ed. Oyekan Owomoyela. Lincoln, NE: University of Nebraska Press, 1993. 105-37.

SCC earns a brief write-up as part of "The Disillusioned Generation". Characterized by Knipp as a "strong, angry poet" with "little variety of mood" and "shrill", Knipp asserts that "What redeems it [the poetry] is its confessional intensity" (118).

Interestingly, the confessional intensity as Knipp outlines it is carried out through the trope of the return, though a return coupled with a rage and an almost self-consuming loathing at the Creole "taint" - both as it is played out in Sierra Leone and himself.

Knipp cites only SCC's Graveyard (and the subsumed Concerto), quoting from "Hydropathy", "When the Revolution Is Near at Hand" and "Soul, Chilblains and Scapulas" - though none of these poems are named in the piece. The chapter's bibliography (135-7) does include an entry for Blood. SCC write-up is on (118-9).

Knipp, Thomas R. "Review of Syl Cheney-Coker's The Blood in the Desert's Eyes." African Studies Review 35.1 (1992): 136-7.

Notes, as most reviewers have, Cheney-Coker's strong poetic voice but sees the collection as suffering from a lack of discipline and structure and a sometimes "distorting historical simplification" (136). While likewise calling forth the figure of Whitman as evoked image and poetic influence, Knipp also notes the "stylistic and visionary affinity" (137) Cheney-Coker has with the Congolese poet Tchicaya U'Tam'si. Places Cheney-Coker's poetic persona - as a (biblical?) prophet and "apocalytic surrealist" (137) - at the center of a poetic universe that radiates from and is encompassed by his poetic conceits, of grander scale though no less distressing in the vision conveyed.

Kom, Ambroise. "Review of New Directions in African Fiction by Derek Wright and Contemporary African Fiction by Derek Wright (Ed.)." Research in African Literature 31.2 (2000): 217-21.

Review translated by R.H. Mitsch.

Larson, Charles R. The Ordeal of the African Writer. New York: Zed Books, 2001.

SCC is mentioned in passing twice in Larson's work: the first time in connection with his status as an "exile" awaiting conditions to improve in Sierra Leone before returning home (pg 137); and again as one of the writers that Larson "discovered" for himself and met while on a Fulbright in 1973 (pg 154).

"The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar." Publishers Weekly 237.51 (1990): 49.

Unsigned review of Cheney-Coker's novel.

Lewis, Peter. "Africa Writes Back." Stand 33.3 (1992): 74-83.

Lilleleht, Mark. "Syl Cheney-Coker." Encyclopedia of World Literature in the 20th Century, Volume 1: A-D. Ed. Steven R. Serafin. Farmington Hills, MI: St. James Press, 1999. 479-80.

Also available online at http://www.sit.wisc.edu/~mllillel/writings/scc-enc.htm [last accessed 16 March 2000].

Lilleleht, Mark L. "Syl Cheney-Coker." Who's Who in Twentieth-Century World Poetry. Eds. Mark Willhardt and Alan Michael Parker. London and New York: Routledge, 2000. 63.

Brief bio-bibliographical write-up that gives only the barest thumbnail of his personal history and introduces in the most basic sense the three volumes of his poetry published to date: Concerto, Graveyard and Blood. No mention is made of his novel, Harmattan. Retains much of the language/characterization of Lilleleht's earlier, more extensive, bio-bibliograhic for SCC (1999).

Lindfors, Bernth. Black African Literature in English: 1977-1981 Supplement. New York: Africana Publishing Co., 1986.

As in the inaugral BALE volume, only two items listed under SCC's entry. SCC is correctly listed in this volume as "Syl Cheney-Coker" (222-3).

---. Black African Literature in English, 1982-1986. London: Hans Zell Publishers, 1989.

SCC earns ten entires in this volume and is again correctly listed as "Syl Cheney-Coker" though a number of the entries continue to refer to him as "Cheyney-Coker" (239-40).

---. Black African Literature in English, 1987-1991. London: Hans Zell Publishers, 1995.

Nine listed SCC entries and, interestingly, in this volume Lindfors has reverted back to "Cheyney-Coker" (340-1).

---. Black African Literature in English, 1992-1996. Oxford: Hans Zell Publishers, 2000.

Nineteen listed or referenced entries under the entry for "Cheyney-Coker, Syl" (313). There is also in this volume one of only two errors/omissions that I have ever discovered in the BALE series: SCC's article titled "Exile, the Power and the Critic", listed in the section headed "N. The Role of the Writer" and numbered 24570 (155) is not cross-listed under SCC's individual author listing.

I have not been able to secure a copy of the referenced article (Weekend Concord [Ikeja, Nigeria] 16 March 1996, pg 8), but Lindfors (again) lists authorship as "Cheyney-Coker, Syl".

---. Black African Literature in English: A Guide to Information Sources. American Literature, English Literature, and World Literature in English Information Guide Series 23. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1979.

Cites two items on or related to SCC and his work. Listed in this volume as "Syl Cheyney-Coker" (284-5).

Maja-Pearce, Adewale, ed. The Heinemann Book of African Poetry in English. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1990.

Contains three previously collected poems by Syl Cheney-Coker: "Letter to a Tormented Playwright" & "On Being a Poet in Sierra Leone" (Graveyard) and "The Outsider" (Blood).

---. "Publishing African Literature - In Pursuit of Excellence: Thirty Years of the Heinemann African Writers' Series." Research in African Literatures 23.4 (1992): 125-32.

---. Who's Afriad of Wole Soyinka? Essays on Censorship. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 1991.

Brief mention (pp 11-2) of Cheney-Coker and the production of his newspaper, The Vanguard - which was being published in a limited run every two weeks: "the country's only decent newspaper" according to Maja-Pearce. The particulars of the production process are concluded by a quote from one of Cheney-Coker's columns (unspecified except as being from a regular column titled, "Editor's notebook"): "Many years ago, I gave up on this country. I turned my back on its needless trivialities that were becoming fashionable.... We were in a hurry to join the age of moral bankruptcy."

Moore, David Chioni. "Ousmane Sembene's Les Bouts De Bois De Dieu and the Question of Literary "Realism" - African, European, or Otherwise." Genre: Forms of Discourse and Culture 28.1/2 (1995): 67-93.

Moore, Gerald. "African Fiction and Its Community: From Epic to Novel and Back Again." Africa, America, Asia, Australia 13 (1992): 61-71.

Moore, Gerald, and Ulli Beier, eds. The Penguin Book of Modern African Poetry. 1963. 3rd ed. New York: Penguin Books, 1984.

Contains seven previously collected poems by Syl Cheney-Coker: "On Being a Poet in Sierra Leone", "Poem for a Guerilla Leader", "The Hunger of the Suffering Man", "Poem for a Lost Lover", "Letter to a Tormented Playwright" & "The Road to Exile Thinking of Vallejo" (Graveyard) and "The Philosopher" (Blood).

Volume itself is a republication of Modern Poetry from Africa.

Nazareth, Peter. "Bringing African Literature to India." Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad 14.2 (1996): 91-7.

Review of Politics as Fiction: The Novels of Ngugi wa Thiong'o by Harish Narang and Mightier than Machete by Harish Narang (ed).

---. "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag: Current Trends in African English Fiction." World Englishes 12.3 (1993): 299-310.

---. "Something New Is Happening in African Literature." The Toronto South Asian Review 9.2 (1991): 78-84.

A review of Syl Cheney-Coker's The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar.

Nwankwo, Chimalum. ""I Is": Toni Morrison, the Past, and Africa." Of Dreams Deferred, Dead, or Alive: African Perspectives on African-American Writers. Ed. Femi Ojo-Ade. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996. 171-80.

Nwankwo, Chimalun. "Review of Syl Cheney-Coker's The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar." African Studies Review 35.1 (1992): 134-5.

Ogundele, Wole. "Devices of Evasion: The Mythic Versus the Historical Imagination in the Postcolonial African Novel." Research in African Literatures 33.3 (2002): 125-39.

SCC (and his novel, Harmattan) earns the most passing of references only in the footnote to the opening line of the article which refers to "those [novels] employing marvelous or fantastic realism" (125) - cited together with the usual susects: Okri, Laing, and Bandele-Thomas.

There is no further discussion or mention of SCC or his work.

Ogunsanwo, Olatubosun. "Review of Magical Realism in West African Fiction: Seeing With a Third Eye by Brenda Cooper." Research in African Literature 31.2 (2000): 226-8.

Ojaide, Tanure. "Branches of the Same Tree: African and African-American Poetry." Of Dreams Deferred, Dead, or Alive: African Perspectives on African-American Writers. Ed. Femi Ojo-Ade. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1996. 97-106.

---. "The Half Brother of the Black Jew: The Poet's Persona in the Poetry of Syl Cheney-Coker." CLA Journal 35.1 (1991): 1-14.

The most thorough-going and deep treatment of Cheney-Coker's poetry. Ojaide attempts to situate Cheney-Coker and his poetry within all the streams that have contributed to his development as a man and poet and thus occassionally must rely more on assertion than detailed analysis. Paper is based on Cheney-Coker's first two collections: Concerto and Graveyard. Sees little of "traditional African culture" in Cheney-Coker's poetry but feels that the issues he wrestles with make him "very much an African poet in spirit and his vision" (1). Sensitive (perhaps overused in the essay and not properly defined - too easy to see it as a euphemism for "self-absorbed"), passionate, angry, righteous, sacrificial, and idealistic are all words that Ojaide uses to describe the poet and his poetry. He is also the first to deal in depth with the religious and specifically Christ imagery of his poetry, seeing the power and paradox in Cheney-Coker's "[w]earing the mask of Christ" (2) at the same time that he vilifies Christianity and Christ for the betrayal of his people (Creoles), Africa and the oppressed everywhere. Ojaide also provides a general "key" for decoding Cheney-Coker's imagery and some interesting (and relevant) personal details that inform much of his poetry.

Ths essay has been subsequently republished in the collection, Culture, Society, and Politics in Modern African Literature: Texts and Contexts, Tanure Ojaide and Cyril Obi (eds.), Durham, NC: Carolina Academic Press, 2002. 147-58. ((photocopy and enter in this database - truncate above citation -- note extent of editing between the two versions))

---. "I Want To Be An Oracle: My Poetry and My Generation." World Literature Today 68.1 (1994): 15-21.

---. "New Trends in Modern African Poetry." Research in African Literatures 26.1 (1995): 4-19.

Okafor-Newsum, Ikechukwu. "Africa in the African-American Imagination: Perspectives From the Motherland." Research in African Literatures 29.1 (1998): 219-30.

Review of Femi Ojo-Ade's Of Dreams Deferred, Dead or Alive: African Perspectives on African-American Writers.

Okpewho, Isidore, ed. The Heritage of African Poetry: An Anthology of Oral and Written Poetry. Essex, England: Longman, 1985.

Contains one previously published poem of Syl Cheney-Coker: "Peasants" (Concerto/Graveyard). Grouped with other poems under the heading "Criticism": "poetry that attacks whatever causes offence - whether individuals, communities or institutions" (pg 76).

Olorunyomi, Sola. "Publishing Is Dying."Lagos: Independent Communications Network, Ltd., 1994. 32-3.

Notes: Brief interview with author, Syl Cheney-Coker, Tanure Ojaide and Odun Balogun.

Osundare, Niyi. "African Literature Now: Standards, Texts & Canons." Glendora Review: African Quarterly on the Arts 1.4 (1996): 25-31.

---. "Conversation With Syl Cheney-Coker." Daily Times (Lagos) (1991): 20-1.

---. Midlife. Heinemann Frontline Series. Ibadan: Heinemann Educational Books (Nigeria), 1993.

SCC is one of many to whom this work is dedicated, among the participants of the 1988 Iowa Writing Program.

---. "See Lagos and Die." Newswatch (Ikeja, Lagos State, Nigeria) 21.10 (1995): 8-10.

A sometimes poetic, sometimes (literary) critical reflection on Lagos/Eko and the ambivalence of its being the commercial and in many senses moral and spiritual hub of Nigeria. Tucked into the close of the piece is a reference to Cheney-Coker and many other writers, both African and otherwise: "Generally, the city has always held a profound fascination for writers: Freetown for Syl Cheney-Coker; Dakar for Ousmane Sembene..." (10).

---. The Writer As Righter. Ife Monographs on Literature and Criticism 4th Series, No 5. Ife: Department of Literature in English, University of Ife, 1986.

Cheney-Coker earns but a brief mention (pp 33-4) in this monograph on ((--- fill in the blank!!! ---)). Osundare understands Cheney-Coker's poetry to be both a private exercise and public display and though he alludes to the paradoxes which Cheney-Coker's poetry calls forth (i.e. his anger at "Africa" for its peoples' complicity in its own ruin, all the while locating blame within what Osundare terms "the matrix of a global complex of exploitation" (33)), Osundare's is more a nod to Cheney-Coker as a poet of note than a consideration of his work.

Otiono, Nduka. The Night Hides With a Knife. Ibadan: New Horn and Critical Forum, 1995.

The story "Crossfire" (19-42) opens with an epitaph from SCC's verse ((as yet unidentified poem)): "Alone in his torment man does an ellipsoidal dance / like a demon borne on the branch of the god-tree."

Palmer, Eustace. "The Development of Sierra Leone Writing." A Celebration of Black and African Writing. Eds. Bruce King and Kolawole Ogungbesan. Zaria: Ahmadu Bello University Press, 1975. 245-57.

Subsequently revised and republished as "Sierra Leone and The Gambia" in Gerard (1986).

Cheney-Coker's work is addressed in two of the closing pages of the chapter (255-6). Along with other writers of his generation, Palmer sees Cheney-Coker as a Creole who, in large part due to time/early manhood spent abroad, now shares "with other modern African writers that sense of cultural alienation which is largely absent from the work of the middle generation" (254). The implication of Palmer's discussion seems quite clear: that the self-loathing and disgust engendered in Cheney-Coker by his ancestry and the images of a raped and betrayed continent which it calls up in him is the proper provenance for African poetry (to wit: "The work of this new generation of writers suggests that Sierra Leone literature is at last beginning to flourish." (256)). Notes Cheney-Coker's debt to U'Tam'si, his personal and intellectual desire to bring together Latin America and Africa and his anger towards Christianity and the Christ figure.

---. "Sierra Leone and The Gambia." European-Language Writing in Sub-Saharan Africa, Volume II. Ed. Albert S. Gérard. Budapest: Akadémiai Kiadó, 1986. 844-61.

Revision of Palmer article, "The Development of Sierra Leone Writing" in King & Ogungbesan (1975).

A more detailed revision of his earlier work. Portions are taken verbatim from the earlier draft but much has been added in terms of direct reference to Cheney-Coker's works (though nothing that cannot be found elsewhere). The only volume from which examples are drawn is Concerto, although the mysterious The Road to Jamaica is cited and even given a date of publication (1969) - according to Cheney-Coker this volume was never published and, in fact, was destroyed by the author. Palmer here defines Cheney-Coker in terms of how he is unlike other Sierra Leonean poets: disenchanted with and loathing his Creole ancestry (where others take pride in it), it serving as a reminder of the slave trade, the original debasement of his people; his anger and disgust with the Christian religion (where earlier poets found solace). Palmer fails, however, to tackle the issue of why and how Cheney-Coker then makes such potent and convincing use of the Christ figure as a poetic persona. Palmer also addresses the question of Cheney-Coker's stylistic peculiarities, noting a lack of control in the poems, a piling up of often frightful and repulsive imagery and a certain "modishness" about Cheney-Coker's poetry which sometimes calls his "sincerity" into doubt.

---. "Sierra Leonean Poetry in English." The Arts and Civilization of Black and African Peoples, Volume 3: Black Civilization and Literature. Eds. Joseph Ohiomogben Okpaku, Alfred Esimatemi Opubor, and Benjamin Olatunji Oloruntimehin. Lagos: Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization, 1986. 190-200.

Unlike his other two general studies which were rather dismissive of Sierra Leonean literary output, here Palmer opens his essay with the contention that "she has always had an interesting Literature going much further back than is commonly supposed" (190).

The pages on Cheney-Coker in this largely mirror the material in Palmer's contribution to Gerard (1986). With the exception of some reordering of lines and paragraphs and some rather minor grammatical revisions, this is lifted word for word from the Gerard volume (or vice-versa).

Contributor's name is listed as "E.J.T. Palmer".

---. "West African Literature in the 1980s." Matatu 10 (1993): 61-84.

Peters, Robert. "Review of Syl Cheney-Coker's The Graveyard Also Has Teeth: With Concerto for an Exile." Library Journal 105.2 (1980): 20.

Glowing, albeit short, review - classifies Cheney-Coker's collection as essential to poetry and black studies collections. Cites his "driving rage ... at white heat" though holds that the beauty of the verse is never overwhelmed by the "power of his revolutionary themes". Refers to his poetic eye as "macrocosmic" and is perhaps the first print reference to Cheney-Coker's style as "Whitmanic".

Porter, Abioseh Michael. "A New 'New' Jerusalem? West African Writers and the Dawn of the New Millennium." Jouvert: A Journal of Postcolonial Studies 4.2 (2000): n.p.

A reading of SCC's novel, The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar. Considers Haramattan together with Achebe's Anthills of the Savannah, Kourouma's Monnè, and Ecehwa's I Saw the Sky Catch Fire as (formally) subversive historical novels which utilize both "varying degrees of apocalyptic elements" (¶ 3) and more traditional oral forms and resources to both refigure the contemporary African novel but also provide "some convincing solutions for the continent's problems" (¶ 2).

The reading of Harmattan that Porter presents does not present any of these promised "solutions" [Porter's analysis is more a backward glance than a forward projection, aside from a reference to salvation through traditional values (¶23)] but does provide a convincing argument for the book as "probably the closest thing Sierra Leone has to a national epic" (¶ 24).

Rotella, Mark. "Review of The New African Poetry, Edited by Tanure Ojaide and Tijan M. Sallah." Publisher's Weekly 246.39 (1999): 100-1.

Accessed and printed out [pdf] via the ProQuest Research Library database [1 March 2002].

Rumens, Carol. "Speak Like Rain." New Statesman & Society 3.125 (1990): 37.

Review of Michael March (ed), Child of Europe: A New Anthology of East European Poetry; Adewale Maja-Pearce (ed), The Heinemann Book of African Poetry in English; and Syl Cheney-Coker, The Blood in the Desert's Eyes.

Accessed and printed out [pdf] via the ProQuest Research Library database [1 March 2002].

Sallah, Tijan M., ed. New Poets of West Africa. Lagos: Malthouse Press Ltd, 1995.

Reprints five of SCC's earlier collected poems - "The Plague", Freetown", "Solitude"; "Peasants" and "Myopia" ("The Plague" from his later collection, Blood, the others from the "Concerto" portion of Graveyard).

Sallah appends some of his own explanatory footnotes to two of the poems defining or explaining Freetown, Creole (in "Freetown") and Granville Sharp (in "Solitude") but inexplicably leaving Artemidoros un explicated in "The Plague".

Brief biographical note that leads off the selection seems largely to repeat basic information carried on the back covers of most of his work although, distressingly, Sallah also incorrectly notes that SCC has four volumes of poetry published - he includes the non-existent The Road to Jamaica in his count.

Salt, M. J. "Review of Syl Cheney-Coker's Concerto for an Exile." African Literature Today 7 (1975): 159-62.

An even-handed review which both praises Cheney-Coker for his poetic skills and apparent devotion to craft but also criticizes some of his work where "the image system breaks down, when the flood of thoughts and ideas refuses to order itself into a poem" (162). Salt notes Cheney-Coker's use of surrealistic imagery, evocation of "the spirit of revolutionary fervor" (161), historical consciousness (especially in terms of ethnic identity) which makes this "personal and passionate poetry" (159) more widely significant.

Senanu, K. E., and T. Vincent, eds. A Selection of African Poetry. 1976. New ed. Essex: Longman, 1988.

Contains two previously collected poems by Syl Cheney-Coker: "Freetown" & "Peasants" (Concerto/Graveyard).

Smith, Arthur E. E. "Freetown Launching: ...Last Harmattan.../...In the Desert." ALA Bulletin 17.1 (1991): 27-8.

Smith, Pamela J. Olubunmi. "Review of Syl Cheney-Coker's The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar." World Literature Today 65.4 (1991): 755-6.

Soyinka, Wole. "Arms and Arts - A Continent's Unequal Dialogue." Pretexts: Literary and Cultural Studies 8.2 (1999): 187-200.

According to a page on the University of Cape Town servers, this article was [first?] presented as one in the "T.B. Davie Memorial Lectures" in August 1999 [according to the website, "it is delivered on a theme related to academic freedom." See http://web.uct.ac.za/general/tbdavie1.htm for information on the lectures and http://web.uct.ac.za/general/tbdavie/soyi-99.htm for the text of Soyinka's speech [last accessed 2 January 2003].

---. "Exile." Creating Spaces of Freedom: Culture in Defiance. Eds. Els van der Plas, Malu Halasa, and Marlous Willemsen. London: Saqi Books, 2002. 25-33.

Piece intercut with reproduction of Fela Anikulapo Kuti's "Underground System" album cover and transcription of title track's lyrics (27-8) and Lounès Matoub's "Lettre Ouverte Aux..." album cover and transcription of song lyrics of "The Revolutionary".

((be sure to compare to Soyinka's other piece, "Voices from the Frontier"))

Soyinka opens with an absolutely withering riff on the notion and consumption of the idea of exile, of the artist as "Exile": "The theme of exile seems to hold great fascination for literary critics, mere artistic consumers, anthologists and festival directors of all artistic genres.... oh, I forgot to add the interviewers, autograph huners and the most casual encounters" (25).

Soyinka draws a parallel between SCC and Dambudzo Marechera in their "eclectic, voracious appetite for the spoils of exile - that is, the insistence on an exile persona that feeds on the community of the alienated." It is also, Soyinka notes, "a younger, passing phase" (30).

Drawing on "The Road to Exile Thinking of Vallejo", "On Being a Poet in Sierra Leone" and "Letter to a Tormented Playwright", Soyinka teases out the need to be separate from one's inspiration (and obligation) "in order to embrace it more fully, and to serve it more faithfully" (33).

---. "Voices From the Frontier." The Guardian 13 July 2002.

Article concludes - this version of this essay, that is - with a consideration of two of SCC's poems, "The Road to Exile Thinking of Vallejo" and "Letter to a Tormented Playwright", in the context of understanding the place, process, and product of the artist as one of a priori "exile".

Stevenson, Anne. "New Poetry." Stand 33.1 (1991): 52-7.

"Syl Cheney-Coker." Contemporary Authors, Volume 101. Ed. Frances C. Locher. Detroit: Gale Research Company, 1981. 114.

The most explicit statement of the specifics of his educational and work experience (complete with dates). Entry opens with the odd line, perhaps a typo: "Birthgiven name, Syl Cheney Coker; name legally changed in 1970." Ths might account for the variant spelling of "Cheyney-Coker" although is we go by what's given in this entry the only difference is the use of the hyphen.

Clearly the result of an author survey - listed under politics is (in quotation marks) - "Decidedly Left." The entry also includes a fairly lengthy reflection by Cheney-Coker on how what he wants his poetry to do and how he puts it together. Saying his "is a poetry that owes very little to the English or American masters of the recent past", he goes on to outline his vision of the pure, unfettered word at play "within the rationality of form." Citing both Neruda and Yevtushenko, he feels his poetry is rooted in the suffering of the world - "continually brutalized" - and his person.

"Syl Cheney-Coker." The New African Poetry: An Anthology. Eds. Tanure Ojaide and Tijan M. Sallah. Boulder, CO: Lynne Reiner Publishers, Inc., 1999. 219-24.

Webb, Hugh. "Desperate Declamations: Globules of Anguish Strung Together As Memory." Passionate Spaces: African Literature and the Post-Colonial Context. Hugh Webb. Attadale, Australia: Postcolonial Press, 1991. (??).

Also available online at http://wwwtds.murdoch.edu.au/cntinuum/litserv/Webb/ch8.html & http://kali.murdoch.edu.au/cntinuum/litserv/Webb/ch8.html [last accessed 16 March 2000].

Whyte, Philip. "Gender and Epic in Syl Cheney-Coker's The Last Harmattan of Alusine Dunbar." Commonwealth: Essays and Studies 26.1 (2003): 53-60.

An interesting and closely argued piece in which Whyte suggests that matters of form work at cross-purposes to the more explicitly asserted ideology of SCC's Harmattan as far as it concerns issues of gender and the role of women.

Whyte sees SCC developing a fictional world with roots in the pathologies of colonial sexuality, exploitation and humiliation (colonial oppression mirrored in the interplay of gender and power relations as played out in sexaul availability). SCC's ideological goal, Whyte suggests, is to highlight and bring forward the role of women in liberating and developing the finctional nation of Malagueta.

It is at this point that Whyte suggests the demands of the form overwhelm the ideological niceties. Whyte sees SCC as writing a "foundation epic" which necessarily foregrounds the woman's role as mother (of children, of the nation) and focuses on the women as "uniformly beautiful and sexually liberated" (55). Whyte never suggests (or even questions whether) this seeming re-mythification of women (and subsequent revaluation of women as independent actors) is purposeful, or how it might fit with regards to SCC's authorial intent.

Whyte continues with a consideration of the complexity of a creole society and how, in Harmattan, these questions are largely raised and resolved through the "engendering" of children (and the ritual practices and mythology surrounding "women as propogators" (57) & the tensions that exist between this and ongoing emmigration).

Whyte seems to lose the thread of his argument, however, as he proceeds through this latter argumentation, losing the centrality (ordering) of gender and genre while focusing on the notions of community and authenticity without a strong theoretical unity.

Wright, Derek. "Prospective: Into the Nineties." New Directions in African Fiction. Derek Wright. New York: Twayne Publishers, 1997. 162-79.

Yesufu, Abdul R. "Beyond Nihilism: Syl Cheyney-Coker's Redemptive Resolution in Concerto for an Exile." Africa Quarterly 34.3 (1994): 132-45.

According to Lindfors' BALE 5, this article is an expansion on Yesufu's "Phoenix" article and reprinted in Harish Narang (ed.) Mightier Than Machete (New Delhi: Indian council for Cultural Relations and Wiley Eastern Ltd, 1995) which is itself a reprint of Africa Quarterly (New Delhi) 34.3 (1994) [which is reviewed by Peter Nazareth, "Bringing African Literature to India" Toronto Review of Contemporary Writing Abroad 14.2 (1996), 91-7

---. "A Portrait of the Poet As a Phoenix: Redemptive Death in Syl Cheyney-Coker's »Concerto for an Exile«." Zeitschrift Für Afrikastudien 17/18 (1993): 29-40.

Zell, Hans M., Carol Bundy, and Viriginia Coulon, eds. A New Reader's Guide to African Literature. 1972. 2nd ed. New York: Africana Publishing Company, 1983.

Entry lists Cheney-Coker's two earliest collections, Concerto and Graveyard, tagging the earlier work as "Poems of anger and agony" and the latter as "revolving around themes of grief and knowledge." Robert Fraser's review of Graveyard in the magazine, West Africa, is quoted but there is no additional bibliographic information on it and the review has not yet been found.

Ziebell, John. "Interview With Syl Cheney-Coker." Red Rock Review 10 (2001): 131-40.


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